City asks state for $90K to cover storm expenses

HB Independent

Huntington Beach is waiting to hear back from the state on a $90,000 reimbursement request to cover overtime costs from the winter storms.

The Fire Department's Emergency Management and Homeland Security office asked the state last month to provide the funds for emergency protection and debris removal from the January and February storms, said Brevyn Mettler, the department's emergency services coordinator.

The reimbursement is part of the California Disaster Assistance Act, which allows cities to recoup costs from natural disasters when the governor declares a state of emergency.

Gov. Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency from Jan. 19 to Feb. 3 in Orange County.

The storms cost the city about $90,000 in overtime expenses for the public works department to block off flooded streets, fill sandbags and prevent street flooding citywide, Mettler said.

The city also accrued overtime costs from contractors that removed debris from the marina.

Keeping the city from becoming a "fish pond" takes a lot of people doing protective measures, Mettler said.

"Every time we have a storm, it is a substantial cost for the city," he said.

The city has already gone through the vetting process and is just waiting for the final approval. The city can expect to get about 75% of what it applied for, Mettler said.

The reimbursement money will go into the city's general fund, Mettler said.

The city includes these kind of reimbursements into its revenue projections, and they will not impact its projected $3-million deficit next year, said City Administrator Fred Wilson in an e-mail.

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